The first “esports hotel” opens in Osaka, Japan; the NHL is scheduled to resume August 1st; and international cricket plans to make its comeback this week. For these stories and more, check out the Red Phoenix Global Sports Update:

NHL and Players Agree to Start Postseason Tournament on August 1

The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to terms on a new collective-bargaining agreement (C.B.A.) that will allow them to return to play on August 1st with an expanded 24-team playoff format. All Western Conference games will be held in Edmonton while all eastern conference games will be held in Toronto. Formal training camps will begin on July 13. The new C.B.A. also allows NHL players to play in the next two winter Olympics.

Japan’s First Esports Hotel Opens in Osaka

Japan’s first hotel specializing in esports is opening in Nipponbashi district in Osaka’s Naniwa Ward. Known for being a hotspot of Japan’s otaku culture, the new hotel, called “Esports Hotel e-Zone,” is set up so players can quickly get into their game and then stay the night. Delayed by three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel is opening at a limited capacity. The hotel’s first three floors feature shared spaces with computers equipped for advanced games and are designed to host schools and esports teams. The remaining floors accommodate male and female guests in separate sections.

Brazil Eyeing Maracana to Kick off World Cup Qualifiers

Brazil has started planning its 2022 World Cup qualification games with hopes to open at the historic Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janeiro. The qualifiers were originally targeted to begin over five months ago, but were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

England. vs. West Indies Preview: International Cricket Returns to life

Major international cricket will return on July 8th with England taking on the West Indies in Southampton. Both teams have been staying and practicing in a ‘bio-secure bubble’ with zero cases of COVID-19 reported so far. There have been some rule changes, such as prohibiting the use of saliva to improve grip on the ball, a ban on hugs or high-fives on the field, and access to hand sanitizers near the boundary ropes. 

Report Confirms Record Economic Impact of Rugby World Cup 2019

An economic impact study has revealed the 2019 Rugby World Cup held in Japan far exceeded predictions made before the event, generating a record-breaking 646.4 billion yen ($6.1 billion) for the host nation. According to a report compiled by Ernst and Young and detailed by the Japan Rugby Football Union, the tournament in Japan was the most economically successful Rugby World Cup ever, with about 348.2 billion yen generated through spending by international tourists. Japan also broke the attendance rate record with 99 percent of available tickets sold, 1.72 million in total, excluding the three canceled matches.

2026 World Cup Continues Search for Host Cities

2026 World Cup organizers have resumed their search for host cities. FIFA and domestic organizers intend for the event to have 10 U.S. host cities. 80 games will be played at the 2026 World Cup with 60 games scheduled to be played in the USA and 10 in each of Canada and Mexico.

PGA Tour Moves Forward with New 8-event Series for International-tour Members

The PGA Tour has announced that it will host eight tournaments to help make up for canceled tours in China and Latin America. There will be a minimum $100,000 purse for each tournament. The tournaments will have several COVID-19 protocols in place, including daily temperature checks, a no-caddie rule and mandates that players avoid fitness gyms, bars and dine-in restaurants during tournament weeks.

Vietnam May Host F1 Race in November

Vietnam is expecting to host its first Formula One Grand Prix in late November. The country was to host the Grand Prix on April 5th, which was canceled due to COVID-19. Vietnam hasn’t reported any transmission of coronavirus in nearly three months and is taking all possible safety measures to be able to host the event. 

DeNA/Mitsui Fudosan/Tokyu/Keikyu Electric Railway Starts Recruiting “YOKOHAMA Sports Town Accelerator”

DeNA, Mitsui Fudosan, Tokyu, and Keikyu Corporation began recruiting for the “YOKOHAMA Sports Town Accelerator,”  aiming to realize the “Yokohama Sports Town Concept” by discovering venture companies working to revitalize the local economy through new city development centered on sports. This initiative aims to create a unique appeal and a bustling atmosphere by multiplying resources and solving various problems persistent in the Yokohama area. N.P.B.’s Yokohama DeNA Baystars Co., Ltd., which has a track record of operating its “BAYSTARS Sports Accelerator,” will participate in an operational capacity.

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